Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Harpsichord
Instrumentation: Solo Oboe, Strings and Harpsichord
Composition Date: 2004/05
Commissioned: The Alberta Baroque Ensemble
Premiered: Premiered March 6, 2005 by the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, Mark Rodgers soloist, Paul Schieman conductor, in Robertson Wesley United Church, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Many thanks to the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for their generous support of this commission.
This piece was commissioned by the Alberta Baroque Ensemble to celebrate their 25th. The idea of composing a piece of new music for an ensemble that specializes in music of the Baroque era provided some interesting challenges. Do you write a 21st century piece of music, do you write a work that is in the Baroque style, or do you write a piece that reflects the textures and gestures of that era but still is rooted in the present? I decided on all three.
I began by listening to a considerable number of oboe concerti from the Baroque period, specifically the works of Tomaso Albinoni. This resulted in a principal theme for the 1st movement that was very much in the Baroque style. I originally thought of developing it in a 21st century language but this proved unsuccessful and I decided to compose a 1st movement that is firmly rooted in the sound of the Baroque (hence the subtitle Albinology).
The theme for the 2nd movement was originally written as a wedding processional for one of my closest friends. This movement is more romantic in tone and the subtitle, Go Deeply Now Everlasting, is derived from the couple’s initials.
The 3rd movement is subtitled with perpetual motion to reflect the constant 1/8th note that lasts throughout. This movement sounds the most “modern” of the three but still reflects a textures common to the Baroque. After completing the work I realized that the over-arching form is the movement from the Baroque to the 21st century.